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Subject 3 : The Gospel of the Water and the Spirit

[3-25] The Relationship between the Ministry of John the Baptist and the Gospel of the Atonement of Sins (Matthew 21:32)

The Relationship between the Ministry of John the Baptist and the Gospel of the Atonement of Sins
 
(Matthew 21:32)
“For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.”
 
 

John the Baptist Was Sent by God

 
The Bible bears witness of John the Baptist in John 1:6-7, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.” As it’s written here, John the Baptist “came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.” The witness that John the Baptist bore was testifying that Jesus shouldered the sins of the world, and if he had not borne this witness of Jesus’ gospel of the atonement of sins, then it would have been impossible for anyone to believe in Jesus and, even if one did, it would have been all in vain. In speaking of John the Baptist, the Apostle John is explaining the gospel of the atonement of sins here, just as it is through someone who found Jesus prior to us that we also have come to know and believe in Him. 
 


Who Was John the Baptist?

 
It’s written in Luke 1:76-77: “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins.” The prophet of the Highest here is none other than John the Baptist, the representative of the entire human race who, by passing all the sins of the people of the Lord to Jesus through baptism, made it known to all the Lord’s believers that they have been saved from judgment and received the remission of sins. The Bible also explains the reason why John the Baptist was sent to this earth as the representative of mankind to pass all the sins of God’s people to Jesus, and Luke 1:78 testifies that this reason is “the tender mercy of our God.” By the witness of John the Baptist, all human beings came to know the salvation of the Lord, as it is written, “Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us” (Luke 1:78). 
Jesus is our guarantee assuring us that atonement has been made for all our sins. Who leads us to the way of peace in this world? It’s Jesus. But because John the Baptist passed all our sins to Jesus through His baptism and led us to the Lord’s gospel of the atonement of sins, without his witness no one can reach salvation by his own understanding.
Let’s examine the Word in more detail to see who John the Baptist was. It’s written in Luke 1:1-14: “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed. There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.’”
The Gospel of Luke begins by saying that its writer, Luke, had examined Jesus’ account in detail from the very beginning, and he starts off his account by addressing the lineage of John the Baptist first. Let’s also begin by looking at the lineage of John the Baptist here and examine his birth and ministry in detail. 
Luke, a disciple of Jesus, preached the gospel to an eminent Gentile named Theophilus. But this man did not know the Word of the Scriptures, and therefore it was necessary for Luke to explain the Word to him in detail, and that’s why he began his account with the lineage of John the Baptist.
It’s written, “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.”
Here we see Zacharias the priest was ministering his priesthood in the order of his division. And Luke clearly testifies here that Zacharias’ wife Elizabeth was a descendant of Aaron. Now then, we need to find out here what Zacharias’ lineage was—that is, which house among the Levites he was from.
Luke 1:8 says, “While he [Zacharias] was serving as priest before God in the order of his division.” In this passage we see Luke testifying that Zacharias was from the house of Aaron the High Priest, because he was “of the division of Abijah,” one of Aaron’s grandsons. And to further emphasize John the Baptist’s pure lineage as a direct descendant of Aaron the High Priest, Luke also says that Zacharias’ wife Elizabeth was a descendant of Aaron as well.
John the Baptist was born from his father Zacharias. Let’s then trace back the lineage of Zacharias the priest. When we turn to 1 Chronicles 24:10, we see the Bible saying, “The seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah.” God had raised Moses as His representative, and He had appointed Aaron, Moses’ brother, as the High Priest to serve God before the people of Israel. Two of Aaron’s sons were killed while offering incense to God with profane fire that was not consecrated. After their death, there were two priests remaining named Eleazar and Ithamar, both of whom were Aaron’s sons. God then made the descendants of Aaron minister all sacrifices and serve Him in the Tabernacle. But the number of the descendants of Aaron increased as time passed by. So, in the days of David, he needed to arrange the priesthood system according to the division of 24 grandsons of Aaron. In other words, David separated the priests into divisions to take turns in administering sacrifices, and this is “the order of division” that is mentioned in Luke chapter 1, where it’s said that Zacharias went into the Temple of the Lord to serve Him in the order of his division when his lot fell.
When David restored the sacrificial system of the Tabernacle, he had also reorganized the order by which the priests were to minister sacrifices. David reformed the sacrificial system because the Israelites had worshipped idols so much during the days of Saul, and he entrusted the entire priesthood to the descendants of Aaron to pass the Israelites’ sins to the sacrificial animals for their atonement and salvation. And because there were many descendants of Aaron, David established an order by which the priests took turns to enter the Sanctuary and serve the Lord according to their lots. In other words, David set a schedule for the priests to take turns and enter the Tabernacle and serve God according to this order. 
It’s in reference to this order that 1 Chronicles 24:10 says, as we just read, “the eighth to Abijah”; and Luke 1:5, which says, “There was . . . a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah,” proves that Zacharias was a priestly descendant belonging to the division of Abijah, one of the grandsons of Aaron. Clearly, then, John the Baptist’s father Zacharias was a priest of the division of Abijah and a descendant of Aaron the High Priest. Moreover, the Bible also says here that Elizabeth was Aaron’s descendant as well (Luke 1:5). So, both John the Baptist’s father and mother were the descendants of Aaron the High Priest. It was imperative for Luke to explain this clearly to Theophilus first before explaining to him that John the Baptist had passed all sins to Jesus. Now then, let us turn to the Word of the Scriptures to see where it says that the descendants of Aaron served as the High Priests. 
 

John the Baptist Was Born of the House of the High Priest 
 
First of all, Aaron’s descendents inherited the sacrificial ministry of the Day of Atonement. It’s written in Leviticus 16:30-34: “‘For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. It is a sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever. And the priest, who is anointed and consecrated to minister as priest in his father’s place, shall make atonement, and put on the linen clothes, the holy garments; then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tabernacle of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year.’ And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.” 
Elsewhere in Numbers 20:28-29, the Bible says, “Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there on the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. Now when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, all the house of Israel mourned for Aaron thirty days.” As we can see here, God gave the office of the High Priest to Aaron and this office was passed onto his sons, and this statute was forever unchanging (Leviticus 16:33-34). Among all the children of Israel, it’s Aaron and his sons who were entrusted with the priesthood to serve God. That is how Aaron and his sons became the house of the High Priest that ministered to bring the remission of sins to the people of Israel. 
It’s written in Exodus 28:1-2: “Now take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as priest, Aaron and Aaron’s sons: Nadab, Abihu, Elemazar, and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.”
God also said in Exodus 29:1-9: “‘And this is what you shall do to them to hallow them for ministering to Me as priests: Take one young bull and two rams without blemish, and unleavened bread, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil (you shall make them of wheat flour). You shall put them in one basket and bring them in the basket, with the bull and the two rams. ‘And Aaron and his sons you shall bring to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and you shall wash them with water. Then you shall take the garments, put the tunic on Aaron, and the robe of the ephod, the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the intricately woven band of the ephod. You shall put the turban on his head, and put the holy crown on the turban. And you shall take the anointing oil, pour it on his head, and anoint him. Then you shall bring his sons and put tunics on them. And you shall gird them with sashes, Aaron and his sons, and put the hats on them. The priesthood shall be theirs for a perpetual statute. So you shall consecrate Aaron and his sons.’”
Now then, there is no doubt whatsoever that God clearly used the house of Aaron, Moses’ brother, as the house of the High Priest to represent the people of Israel. No one can dispute this. It’s by God’s commandment that the house of Aaron assumed the office of the High Priest. No just anyone could assume this office of the High Priest, but only someone from the house of Aaron could minister as the High Priest to enter into the Most Holy of the Tabernacle and remit away all the yearly sins of the entire people of Israel once and for all. So God told Moses to appoint his brother Aaron to the High Priesthood (Exodus 29:1), and He also told Moses to make fitting garments for the High Priest as He had shown him and put these garments on his brother Aaron.
This means that it was appointed by God Himself for Aaron to become the High Priest and for his sons and descendants to inherit his priesthood. God had said that the office of the High Priest should forever rest on Aaron’s sons and descendants; the descendants of Aaron therefore had to minister as the High Priest until the passing of the age of the Old Testament and the arrival of the age of the New Testament with the coming of Jesus; and this was an everlasting statute of salvation established by God for the atonement of sins. 
That is why Luke specifically states here that Zacharias was of the house of Aaron the High Priest, to explain that John the Baptist was the last High Priest of the Old Testament. As John the Baptist passed all the sins of the world to Jesus on behalf of the entire human race, the covenant in the Old Testament ended, and from then on began the age of Jesus, the age of grace. This is how God distinguished mankind’s history into two distinct periods. 
 


John the Baptist Baptized Jesus

 
We call John “John the Baptist” because he baptized Jesus. What, then, does “baptism” mean in the Bible? The word “baptism” is “βάφτισμα” (baptisma) in Greek, which means to immerse, to wash, to pass on, to bury, or to transfer. 
As mentioned, baptism means to pass on or to transfer. As Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, all sins of the world were passed onto Jesus; having thus accepted all the sins of every sinner in this world, Jesus was then put to death in our place to pay off the wages of our sins; He rose from the dead again; and He thereby became the Savior of all who believe in this Truth. The Lord was baptized to bear our sins on our behalf and He was crucified to death in our place. That’s because the wages of sin is death. 
As already mentioned, the word “baptism” also means “to wash.” This, in turn, means that as Jesus received the baptism of the remission of sins from John the Baptist in the Jordan River, He accepted all our sins and blotted out and washed away all the sins of the world. Because all the sins of the human race were passed onto the body of Jesus through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, and Jesus made atonement for all the sins of the world with His body, we have been saved by believing in this Truth. 
When we take a comprehensive look at the baptism of Jesus and its meaning, we see that it denotes four meanings: “To wash,” “to pass on,” “to transfer,” and “to bury.” During the age of the Old Testament, when the people of Israel sought the remission of their sins, they brought an unblemished sacrificial animal specified by God, such as a goat, a lamb, a bull, or a pigeon, and they laid their hands on the head of the sacrificial animal to pass their sins to it. This rite held the same significance as that of the baptism that Jesus received in the age of the New Testament. In the Old Testament, the people of Israel passed their sins to a goat by laying their hands on its head, and this goat, because it thus accepted the Israelites’ sins, was put to death in their place to make atonement for their sins. Likewise, Jesus also accepted the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist (the representative of the human race); He shed His blood to death to make atonement for all our sins; He rose from the dead again; and He has thereby saved all His believers. In the Old Testament, Aaron the High Priest imputed (transferred) the Israelites’ sins on a goat by laying his hands on its head as their representative, cut its throat and drew its blood, put the blood on the altar of burnt offering, and sacrificed it to God on behalf of the people of Israel. In the New Testament, John the Baptist was the representative of the entire human race.
 


The Greatest among Those Born of Women

 
When we turn to Matthew 11:11, we see Jesus Himself testifying, “Among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist.” The implication is clear: John the Baptist was fully qualified as the High Priest of the entire human race. It was in his capacity as the last High Priest of the Old Testament that he had baptized Jesus. If Aaron was the High Priest of the people of Israel, then John the Baptist was the High Priest of mankind, and according to the everlasting statute of priesthood established by God, he passed all the sins of the world to Jesus once and for all by baptizing Him. His father, Zacharias, was a descendant of Aaron, just as his mother Elizabeth was also from the house of Aaron, and since only the descendants of Aaron could fulfill the high priesthood, John the Baptist had every legitimacy to assume the office of the High Priest. 
 


Who Is Abijah? 

 
First Chronicle chapter 24 describes the order by which the descendants of Aaron ministered as priests to offer sacrifices to God, and Abijah is listed here as the eight order. When we turn to Luke 1:9 in the New Testament, we see that a priest was chosen in the same way as in the Old Testament “according to the custom of the priesthood,” and the one chosen here succeeded the office of the High Priest and fulfilled its role. This tradition had continued on for generations, until it eventually reached Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist.
John the Baptist’s father, Zacharias, was a High Priest born as a descendant of Aaron from the order of Abijah, and following this lineage, John the Baptist was the High Priest and representative of the entire human race. 
To draw an analogy, a lion cub can be borne only by a lion. Likewise, John the Baptist was born from the house of Aaron the High Priest, and as the last High Priest who fulfilled God’s prophesied Word of salvation, he played the role of a bridge linking the Old Testament to the New Testament. To underscore this, Jesus Himself said that John the Baptist was the greatest of those born of women. This is proven in Matthew 11:11-13. Jesus Himself bore witness of John the Baptist and testified that he was the Elijah prophesied to be sent in the Old Testament (Matthew 11:13-15), and this promise is recorded in Malachi 3:4. 
 

Let’s Hear the Apostles’ Testimonies on the Baptism of Jesus 
 
The baptism of Jesus is the means by which our Lord bore all the sins of the world and made atonement for them. His baptism is testified in many places throughout the Epistles written by the Apostles Paul, Peter, and John. 
First of all, let’s hear what the Word says about the baptism of Jesus in the Pauline Epistles. It’s written in Romans 6:2-7: “Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.”
In believing that he was baptized with Jesus, the Apostle Paul’s faith was placed in the gospel proclaiming that Jesus made atonement for all the sins of mankind when He was baptized. The true gospel of the atonement of sins that the Bible speaks of is the gospel of the water and the blood, the gospel of the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross. In other words, the gospel of the remission of sins testified by the Apostles in the Bible proclaims that Jesus took away all the sins of the world by being baptized.
Let’s then hear the testimony of the Apostle Peter regarding Jesus’ baptism and His bearing of sins. He said in 1 Peter 3:21, “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” The Apostle Peter is saying here that the baptism Jesus received from John the Baptist is the antitype of salvation and the atonement of sins. 
Elsewhere, when we look for what’s written in the Apostle John’s Epistles regarding Jesus’ baptism, we see the Bible saying in 1 John 5:5-8: “Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.” The Apostle John also said that the salvation of the atonement of our sins is reached by believing in the Savior who came by the water and the blood.
 


The Difference between the Faith of the Apostles 

 
and That of Today’s Christian Leaders
Now then, we can see here that the faith of the Apostles in the Bible is very different from the faith of today’s theologians, which is placed only in the blood of Jesus. In contrast to theses theologians who believe in Jesus’ blood alone, the Bible bears witness of both the baptism Jesus received from John the Baptist and the blood He shed on the Cross as the salvation of sinners. It’s absolutely imperative for all of us today to reach the correct understanding of the baptism of Jesus and His blood and to believe in this gospel of the atonement of sins properly. The Apostles made it clear in the Bible that Jesus’ baptism (water) is the antitype that saves us from all our sins (1 Peter 3:21), and it is through this gospel of salvation, the gospel of the baptism and blood of Jesus, that we can overcome the world by believing in the Truth of salvation. The baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross are treated equally in the Bible to together constitute the gospel of atonement. The Scriptures clearly write in both Testaments that the gospel of the atonement of sins is constituted by the baptism and blood of Jesus that have blotted out all the sins of the world.
Matthew, a disciple of Jesus, records in Matthew 3:15-16: “But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.”
Prior to this passage, Matthew described the circumstances under which Jesus was baptized (Matthew 3:13-14). And here in Matthew 3:15-16, it’s said that John the Baptist passed all the sins of the world to Jesus through His baptism, the salvation of the atonement of sins. And it bears witness of God’s righteousness of salvation, the gospel of the atonement of sins, proclaiming that as Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, all the sins of everyone in this world were passed onto Christ. Having thus shouldered all the sins of the world through His baptism, Jesus then bore witness of Himself for three years, died on the Cross, rose from the dead again in three days, completely fulfilled the salvation of all His believers from all sins, and is now sitting at the right hand of the throne of God the Father.
Furthermore, the disciples of Jesus also wrote that Jesus would appear for a second time to all who have received the remission of sins by believing in the Lord’s baptism and His blood on the Cross, those who are waiting for the Lord apart from sin. It’s written in Hebrews 9:28, “So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” When Jesus was baptized, God the Father Himself bore witness of Jesus, saying, “This is My beloved Son,” and John the Baptist also testified the next day that it was none other than Jesus who had accepted all the sins of the world through His baptism and made atonement for them. 
Theologians nowadays are so ignorant of the Bible and so oblivious to the baptism and blood of Jesus that have made atonement for all the sins of mankind. I believe that this is because their spiritual eyes are closed, and therefore they cannot feed on the heavenly Word. As a result, many Christians think that Jesus bore the sins of the world by Himself somehow, but such thoughts stem from a belief that’s embarrassingly ignorant of the Truth of salvation, not recognizing that Jesus was baptized and shed His blood to make atonement for all sins. This notion, in other words, stems from the sheer ignorance of today’s Christians who are oblivious to the baptism of Jesus and the gospel of the atonement of sins.
In the Old Testament, as Aaron the High Priest passed the Israelites’ sins to a sacrificial animal by laying his hands on its head, and as this animal shed its blood, Aaron freed the people of Israel from their sins. Likewise, and in accordance with this promised way of salvation, Jesus Himself had come as the sacrificial Lamb of the New Testament, and therefore John the Baptist was absolutely indispensable as the representative of mankind to pass all the sins of this world to Jesus. That is precisely why God the Father had sent John the Baptist six months before sending Jesus. 
John the Baptist was the servant already prophesied and written in the Old Testament’s Book of Malachi. He was the very messenger of God written and prophesied in Malachi 3:1-3, and when we turn to Matthew 11:10-11 in the New Testament, we see that the Lord needed this servant of God to baptize Him and pass all the sins of mankind to Him, so that He could make atonement for all these sins as the Savior of mankind. That is why John the Baptist “thus” passed the sins of the world to Jesus in obedience to His commandment (Matthew 3:15).
The sacrificial lamb of the Old Testament accepted and died for a limited amount of sins since the most sins it bore at any one time was the yearly sins of the Israelites, but in contrast to this, Jesus Christ had to accept each and every sin of the entire world through His baptism and leave none, and He had to be crucified to death to pay off the wages of all these sins and make the everlasting atonement of all the sins of the entire world. That’s why Jesus had to be baptized by John the Baptist, die on the Cross, rise from the dead again in three days, and make atonement for all sins, to forever deliver the entire human race from all the sins of the world. And God has saved from all sins whoever believe in the baptism and blood of Jesus, in the salvation of the gospel of the atonement of sins.
 
 

John the Baptist Was God’s Messenger

 
The Word of God bearing witness of John the Baptist is found in Matthew 11:7-15. Let’s then all read this passage together: “As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!’”
Many people had gone out into the wilderness to see John the Baptist, who was shouting out to the people of Israel to repent. Jesus Himself had seen this, and so He asked the multitudes gathered around Him, “Why did you go out into the wilderness? Did you go to see a man clothed in soft garments?” He then said that those who wore soft clothing were in kings’ houses, whereas John the Baptist, a prophet, dwelt in the wilderness. 
Here, Jesus was speaking the truth that God the Father had appointed John the Baptist to be the representative of mankind, and that He had sent him to Jesus to baptized Him. Our Lord Himself bore witness of John the Baptist and said, “Why did you go out into the wilderness? What did you expect to see there when you went to a man of the wilderness wearing camel skins? Did you go to see a man wearing soft garments? Such people are in kings’ houses. But John the Baptist is higher than even kings. Why did you go out into the wilderness then? To see a prophet? Yes, you went to see a prophet, but John the Baptist was more than a prophet.” Jesus then testified that John the Baptist was greatest of those born of women.
In the age of the Old Testament, even kings were not higher than prophets. Who was then higher than all these prophets of the Old Testament? It was John the Baptist. Jesus Himself testified that John the Baptist was the representative of the entire human race, saying that he was the greatest of all human beings. Jesus also said that John the Baptist was God’s servant sent to this earth six months before Him, to pass the sins of the world to Him by baptizing Him, for it’s written: “But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You’” (Matthew 11:9-10). The Lord was testifying clearly that this promised messenger was none other than John the Baptist. 
John the Baptist bore witness of Jesus, saying, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” It was John the Baptist who testified that Jesus took away all the sins of the world, and that He was the Son of God; and John was the greatest prophet of all—indeed, of the entire human race. Since John the Baptist was a direct descendant of Aaron, he can legitimately be called the last High Priest. Once you realize from the Old Testament that God had appointed Aaron to be the High Priest of Israel for 40 years, and that He had forever entrusted this priesthood to his descendants, you should have every confidence to believe in John the Baptist as the representative of the human race and the priest who passed all the sins of the world to Jesus. 
The Bible says, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). This passage means that Jesus has become the Savior of all mankind by accepting the sins of the world through John the Baptist. Jesus Himself testified that John the Baptist had passed all sins to Him. In Matthew 11:12, Jesus was speaking of the gospel of the atonement of all the sins of mankind, testifying that all these sins were passed onto Him through the baptism given by John the Baptist. The Lord spoke of the gospel of His baptism and blood, and those who believed in this gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven believed that Jesus was crucified to death because He had borne all the sins of the world through His baptism. 
 


Zacharias’ Testimony 

 
Now then, let’s turn our attention to John the Baptist’s father Zacharias and listen to the testimony he gave after hearing from an angel about the birth and future ministry of his son. It’s written in Luke 1:67-80: “Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: ‘Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David, As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have been since the world began, That we should be saved from our enemies And from the hand of all who hate us, To perform the mercy promised to our fathers And to remember His holy covenant, The oath which He swore to our father Abraham: To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. ‘And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.’ So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.”
Here, Zacharias was prophesying about his son John the Baptist as God’s servant, explaining what kind of prophet he would become and how he would fulfill his priesthood. What Zacharias said here, that John the Baptist would “give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins,” he prophesied the gospel Word of salvation. John the Baptist was a witness of Jesus to all of us who believe in Jesus. And he also bore witness of the gospel of the atonement of sins for us, testifying that we are saved by believing in the baptism and blood of Jesus. John taught us the evidence that we have received the remission of sins by believing in the baptism and blood of Jesus, the gospel of atonement for all our sins. 
Luke 1:76 states, “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways.” The passage refers to John the Baptist. To make atonement for our sins, Jesus bore all the sins of the world through His baptism. And John the Baptist, in saying that he had passed all the sins of the world to Jesus through the baptism he gave Him, made the salvation of the atonement of sins known to us. 
All of us the believers can discover the Truth here that Jesus carried the sins of the world to the Cross through the baptism He received from John the Baptist and made it possible for all who believe in this perfect atonement of sins to be saved. Thanks to the Word of God declaring that Jesus has saved us perfectly, we are able to believe in our Lord, and by believing in the baptism and blood of Jesus, we can be saved. And through John the Baptist, everyone has come to realize that Jesus is the Savior who made atonement for all the sins of the world. 
Unless we know the baptism John the Baptist gave to Jesus, the gospel of the atonement of sins, how could any of us believe in Jesus as our Savior with complete assurance? Without the knowledge of the gospel Truth of the remission of sins, there is neither salvation nor everlasting life. If you believe in Jesus without realizing John the Baptist’ ministry, then your faith is imperfect and you are leading an imperfect Christian life. And you are relying only on theological doctrines. However, if you know the Truth and realize who John the Baptist was, and what kind of baptism he gave to Jesus for the salvation of mankind and the remission of sins, then you will be delivered from all sins by faith.
Before the fall of man, there was no sin, and therefore there was no need to obtain the remission of sins, either. But once Adam and Eve fell, sin entered the world, and atonement had to be made for each and every sin. In time, passing through the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and reaching the exodus of Jacob’s descendants from Egypt, when the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea and dwelt in the wilderness, God gave the Law to them through Moses. At the same time, God also instituted the sacrificial system of the Tabernacle, through which they were to make atonement for their sins by passing their sins to sacrificial animals such as goats, bulls, or lambs. From then on, the age of the Law began, and this age was an age of suffering because the Law could not bring the complete and everlasting remission of sins, and therefore the Israelites had to wait for the Messiah to come.
This age of the Law ended in God’s sight with the baptism of Jesus that marked the beginning of the age of grace. All the sacrifices of the Old Testament that foreshadowed the promised salvation ended with the baptism John the Baptist gave to Jesus. In other words, the promised salvation from sin was completely fulfilled through the baptism of Jesus and His blood, which made atonement for each and every sin of the entire human race. 
Zacharias, a priest from the house of the High Priest, heard from God that He would give him a son. From a human point of view it was impossible for an old woman to bear a child, but Zacharias’ wife indeed conceived a baby, and the Virgin Mary also got pregnant. An angel had appeared to Mary as well and said to her, “You have found favor with God,” and Mary had said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Mary had found the grace of God and was blessed to give birth to Jesus Christ.
This blessing, however, did not seem like a blessing at all at that time, as the Judaic Law called for a severe punishment if an unmarried woman got pregnant. Then as now, having an out-of-wedlock baby brought a great deal of shame and ruined a woman’s life, but by the grace of God, Mary was blessed with far great honor and glory than her fleshly suffering. Anyway, after confessing her faith, Mary conceived a Child. Her conception of Jesus had also been prophesied by God’s angel. Like this, Jesus Christ our Lord was born through the body of the Virgin Mary.
Mary was not a descendant of Aaron. She was Judah’s descendant. Her fiancé Joseph was also a descendant of Judah. That’s because as the King of kings, Jesus Christ had to come as a royal descendant. And John the Baptist had to come through the lineage of Aaron, from the house of the High Priest. 
Before sending Jesus, God the Father sent John the Baptist, His servant and prophet. Only then could the prophecy of the Old Testament be fulfilled in order for us to believe in God. And since the office of the High Priest was established by God forever, as a descendant of Aaron, John the Baptist was the last High Priest of the human race who would pass the sins of the world to Jesus through the baptism he gave to Jesus. 
Aaron was the first High Priest of Israel, and he was Moses’ elder brother. Aaron’s great-grandfather was Levi (one of Jacob’s twelve sons), his grandfather was Kohath, his father was Amram, his mother was Jochebed, and his elder sister was Miriam (Exodus 6:16-20). Aaron had four sons named Nadab, Abihu, Elemazar, and Ithamar (Exodus 6:23; Numbers 3:2). From the very day Moses was called by God to lead his people out of Egypt, Aaron had helped him and spoke on his behalf as Moses was slow of speech (Exodus 4:10, 7:10). And when the covenant between God and the people of Israel was affirmed on Mount Sinai, Aaron participated in the ceremony and saw God along with Moses and seventy elders of Israel, which shows that they were officially the representatives of the people of Israel (Exodus 24:1-11). And when the Tabernacle was built through Moses for the people of Israel, Aaron and his four sons were anointed by God and consecrated as His priests (Exodus 28:41, 40:13-16). 
Aaron ministered as the first High Priest of Israel for 40 years, and because of this the tribe of Reuben complained about his exclusive authority of priesthood. So to show that the house of Aaron was the chosen one, God ordered each tribe of Israel to present a rod, and Aaron’s rod was included in the lot to represent the tribe of Levi. Among the twelve rods, it was Aaron’s rod that budded, clearly proving that the priesthood of his house was given by God to represent the people of Israel (Numbers 17:1-10). 
When Aaron passed away at the age of 123, his priestly garments were put on Eleazar his son, and Eleazar became the High Priest in his place (Number 20:23-29). The writer of the Book of Hebrews testifies that Aaron was the High Priest of the earth, while Jesus was the High Priest of the Kingdom of Heaven (Hebrews 7:11-28).
 

There Is No Doubt That John the Baptist Was the High Priest Who Baptized Jesus by Laying on of Hands for the Atonement of the Sins of the World
 
Jesus Himself testified that John the Baptist was the representative of the entire human race, as He said in Matthew 11:10-11: “For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” As Jesus bore witness here, John the Baptist had fulfilled his priesthood of passing the sins of mankind to Jesus. 
 


Entering Heaven Began from the Days of John the Baptist

 
The Bible says in Mark 1:1-8: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.’’ John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, ‘There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’”
Whenever we do something important, we plan ahead. Likewise, God had also prepared John the Baptist as the first step to blot out the sins of the world. 
Let’s examine John the Baptist more closely here, who prepared the way to the Kingdom of Heaven. When we turn to the Book of Malachi in the Old Testament, we can see that the priests at that time were all corrupted. So because of this, there had been no upright priest until Jesus came to this earth for the first time as our Lord. The priests at that time were so corrupted that they had forsaken the statutes of the Word of God and abandoned the God-established sacrificial system and His commandments. So God had to bring forth on this earth a priest who would be His messenger and helper. That is why God sent His messenger, and this messenger is none other than John the Baptist who prepared the way to the Kingdom of Heaven. 
John the Baptist was sent to this earth six months before Jesus. To pass the sins of the Israelites to the scapegoat, God had always used the High Priest as their representative, and for this reason, He had to send John the Baptist. This is why God appointed and sent John the Baptist to this earth as the representative priest of mankind. However, because John the Baptist could not dwell with the corrupted priests, he dwelt alone in the wilderness and shouted out to the people of Israel to repent.
Mark 1:2-3 quotes the writing of the Prophet Isaiah and says, “As it is written in the Prophets: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.’’” What did this man in the wilderness cry out? He shouted out the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 
In the Bible, the word baptism is “βάφτισμα” (baptisma) in Greek, which means to immerse or to bury, and it denotes the meaning of the Old Testament’s laying on of hands. Put differently, it implies passing on or transferring something. 
The baptism that the John the Baptist shouted out was two-fold. The first baptism was the baptism of repentance, which called for everyone to return to Christ the Messiah, the Lamb of the everlasting sacrifice of Heaven (Hebrews 10:12), and the second baptism was the one that John the Baptist gave to Jesus, through which all sins were forever passed onto the body of Jesus. As a prophet, John the Baptist was therefore shouting out to everyone to turn around from sin and believe in Jesus, who took away the sins of the world through His baptism, and he was also pointing out that everyone was a sinner before God. Many people then came to John the Baptist and received water baptism to confirm that they themselves were sinners before God.
Baptism denotes washing, passing, and death. John the Baptist baptized the people of Israel to admit that they were sinners before God and to return to Him. And another kind of baptism, which he gave to Jesus, was the baptism of salvation for the entire human race, one that passed all its sins to the Son of God for the remission of sins. Jesus said in Matthew 3:15, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” The Word of the atonement of sins prophesying Jesus’ bearing of sins was completely fulfilled. 
Every Christian living on this planet earth must believe in the baptism and blood of Jesus, the gospel of the atonement of sins. For us, John the Baptist forever passed all the sins of the world to Jesus by baptizing Him to make atonement of sins as the Lord commanded him, and that is how John the Baptist prepared the Kingdom of Heaven so that we may enter it by believing in Jesus, and how Jesus became the way to Heaven. 
It’s written in Mark 1:14-15: “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” The gospel means the good news, and it’s “euaggelion” in Greek. It refers to the gospel of Heaven proclaiming that when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist for the atonement of sins, He accepted all the sins of the world and took them all away. On account of this baptism, all the sins of the world were passed onto Jesus through John the Baptist when He was baptized. In other words, the gospel that has brought the atonement of the sins of mankind is none other than the gospel of the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross. All the sins of the world refer to everyone’s sins, and so these sins include not only your sins but also your future grandchildren’s sins. Moreover, your sins mean all your past, present, and future sins, including not just the sins you commit with your acts but also the sins you commit in your mind. And the world here refers to the planet earth from its beginning to its end, and Jesus has made atonement for all these sins committed in the world.
 

John the Baptist Came by the Way of Righteousness
 
John the Baptist came by the way of the atonement of sins and the way of righteousness, offering the Truth of salvation to mankind, as it’s written in Matthew 21:32, “For John came to you in the way of righteousness.” John the Baptist was sent to this world by God to pass all the sins of everyone in this world to Jesus, and to lead all to the right way, the way of righteousness, to receive the remission of sins by faith. And as John the Baptist himself passed all the sins of the world to Jesus and bore witness of this way of the atonement of sins, thanks to his testimony, many people were saved by realizing and believing in this Truth of salvation. 
Jesus said in Matthew 21:32, “For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.” Where Jesus said here, “John came to you by the way of righteousness,” He was speaking of the fact that John the Baptist was the last High Priest of the Old Testament (Matthew 11:13), and that he had passed all the sins of mankind to Jesus by baptizing Him. 
Why, then, did tax collectors and harlots believe in the baptism of Jesus as their salvation, through which John the Baptist had passed all the sins of the world to the Lord? We need to consider here carefully why it is that these harlots and tax collectors were saved from all their sins by believing in the righteous work done by Jesus and John the Baptist, while many others were destroyed for not believing that John the Baptist had passed the sins of the world to Jesus. Tax collectors and harlots were stereotypical sinners full of sins. If John the Baptist had not baptized Jesus to pass all the sins of the world to Him once and for all, the tax collectors and harlots could not have been saved from all their sins that were as thick as cloud. But they believed in Jesus’ salvation with all their hearts, and they were saved by this faith—that is, by believing that John the Baptist had passed all the sins of the world to Jesus through His baptism so that He would make atonement for all their sins once and for all. And because they believed in Jesus as the Son of God and their own sacrificial Lamb sent by the Father to save them from all their sins, they were remitted from all the sins of the world and reached their everlasting salvation by faith.
Without the role played by John the Baptist in the gospel of the remission of sins, how could we have ever received salvation by faith? Perhaps you might say that it doesn’t matter because you still believe in Jesus anyhow. But to save you from all your sins, God has fulfilled the salvation of the remission of sins by passing all yours sins to Jesus through the baptism given by John the Baptist. Can Jesus then become your Savior even if you don’t believe in this atonement of sins made by Him? Can you be born again just by believing in Jesus in whatever way you choose, even if you bury your sins without passing all of them to the Lord through His baptism? Think about it.
To deliver you from the sins of the world and their wages, God sent John the Baptist to this earth, and He had planned to put all your sins on Jesus through John the Baptist. In light of the fact that God had decided to pass all your sins to Jesus through His baptism, you can never be saved if you reject this decision of God. If you reject God’s decision to save you through the baptism and blood of Jesus, then far from being saved by God, you will just head straight to hell for rejecting His plan. So I ask you to think about this carefully and honestly, and to reflect upon the Word of Truth to see what is the right thing to do.
The right thing to do is for you to be saved by believing in Jesus according to God’s decision. What do you have in your mind then? Do you still cling to your own thoughts stubbornly? You must cast aside all such thoughts of your own and believe in the Truth that Jesus has remitted away all your sins through His baptism of the atonement of sins received from John the Baptist. Believe in this will of God, who has saved you through the water and the Spirit. If you believe that all your sins were passed onto Jesus, then you will be made sinless on account of this faith, you will therefore become a righteous person, and all the righteous people who believe in this Truth will go to Heaven according to the law of the grace of God. 
If you otherwise reject the gospel of the atonement of sins and refuse to admit that all your sins were passed onto Jesus through John the Baptist, then you would be rejecting God’s salvation. Would you then still reject the way of righteousness that John the Baptist prepared for Jesus? You should realize here that if you reject this Truth, then you would be rejecting all the will of God and all His plans, and you would turn yourself into a depraved sinner denying the Truth with your own thoughts. 
The day after Jesus’ baptism, near the place where John the Baptist had baptized Jesus, he bore witness of the Lord and shouted out, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Having thus accepted all the sins of the world, Jesus was crucified to death three years later to pay off the wages of these sins. 
Sin does not have weight. It does not have any color, any smell, any shape, nor does it make any sound. And because you cannot detect it with your physical senses by seeing, smelling, tasting, or hearing, by yourself you cannot feel it. Do not try to feel based on your own emotion that the sins of the world and your sins have disappeared. Emotions change. But the Word of God, the Truth that has blotted out all the sins of the worlds, is forever unchanging. So I ask you to feel this true Word of God by faith, by believing in what John the Baptist testified: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Jesus bore witness of His salvation for three years, preaching, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The Lord Himself is testifying that mankind’s atonement of sins was made by His baptism and blood, and He is telling us to live as His disciples and preach the gospel of His baptism and blood. 
The Prophet Isaiah testified: 
“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, 
That her warfare is ended, 
That her iniquity is pardoned; 
For she has received from the LORD’s hand 
Double for all her sins” (Isaiah 40:2). 
Indeed, to make atonement for your sins and mine, Jesus accepted them all through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, He died on the Cross to pay off the wages of all these sins, and He overcame death by rising from the dead again. The very first thing God did to remit away all our sins and save us was sending John the Baptist to this earth. Put differently, it was to deliver us the sinners from all our sins that God had sent this royal emissary. The Bible makes this clear, for it’s written in Malachi 3:1: “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming.” John the Baptist is the very messenger of God promised to be sent here. 
This servant of God, John the Baptist, put all the sins of the world on Jesus through His baptism. This was the way in which John the Baptist prepared the Kingdom of Heaven for Jesus to bring the remission of sins; it was the way of our salvation; and there was no other way but this. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The way to salvation was for Jesus to make atonement for all the sins of the world through the baptizing hands of John the Baptist. This is the Truth, and it is by believing in this gospel Truth that we have received new life. 
How about you then? Did you pass all your sins along with the sins of the world to Jesus when John the Baptist baptized Him? Do you believe in this? This was God’s predetermined plan of salvation and a wondrous design worthy of His wisdom. But if you reject it, you will not be able to come into God’s fold for rejecting His righteous way of salvation. So I ask you to believe in the way of salvation, in the Truth that God passed all your sins to Jesus through John the Baptist. I beseech you all not to reject this way of life. 
Jesus said in Matthew 11:12, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” That the violent take the Kingdom of Heaven by force means that Heaven is entered by those who believe that all the sins of the world were transferred to Jesus when He was baptized by John the Baptist, for these people are sinless. The Kingdom of God, Heaven, belongs to those who believe that all their sins were passed onto Jesus through John the Baptist, and salvation is reached by whoever believes in this gospel of the atonement of sins proclaiming that John the Baptist passed all the sins of the world to Jesus. 
My fellow believers, who made it possible for us to believe in Jesus and prepared the way of Heaven for us? It’s John the Baptist. Just as God had promised to send His messenger to prepare the Lord’s way, John the Baptist passed all our sins to Jesus Christ, and in doing so, he made it possible for us to become sinless and righteous and be qualified as God’s children, and he prepared us to enter Heaven. This messenger, John the Baptist, sent by God Himself prepared the way to Heaven as our representative so that we would enter the Kingdom of Heaven. He paved the way for us to be born again.
It’s written in Matthew 3:13-17: “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
John the Baptist did the right thing by passing all the sins of everyone in this world to Jesus, and this is the gospel of the atonement of sins, the righteousness of God, and the way of salvation manifested through John the Baptist. Salvation is reached only if we realize this gospel of the atonement of sins in our lives and wholeheartedly believe in the baptism, blood, and resurrection of Jesus that constitute this gospel. Through His baptism, Jesus fulfilled the righteousness of God. As He accepted all our sins passed onto Him by John the Baptist, each and every sin was put on His head. And as He made atonement for everyone’s sins with His own death on the Cross, He completed the salvation of mankind. 
The Book of Hebrews says that Jesus is the High Priest of Heaven according to the order of Melchizedek. Jesus Christ neither has any lineage nor is He a descendant of Aaron. He has no lineage because He is not a descendant of any man but the Son of God, the Creator who made us, and the One who exists by Himself. Yet despite this, He forsook the glory of Heaven and came to this earth to save His people. To be more exact, when His blessed people had fallen into Satan’s temptation and were suffering under the Devil’s yoke, He was baptized in the Jordan River for the atonement of their sins.
Let’s all read Matthew 3:15 again here with one voice: “But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him.” Here, we see Jesus ordering the representative of this earth to baptize Him. As John the Baptist obeyed this commandment, Jesus lowered His head and was baptized by him. Just as the High Priest of the Old Testament had laid his hands on the scapegoat to pass all the yearly sins of the people of Israel, so did John the Baptist put his hands on Jesus’ head and pass all the sins of the world to Him by baptizing Him to bring the remission of sins to the human race. 
 

God Has Saved Us According to the Principle of Representation
 
When the president of your country visits another country and delivers a speech in its legislature, the president speaks on behalf of your entire nation. In a similar vein, John the Baptist passed all sins to Jesus as the representative of the entire human race. 
I have said that the word “baptism” has such spiritual meanings as “to wash, to bury, to pass on, and to transfer.” Just as the scapegoat of the Old Testament was put to death once the Israelites’ sins were passed onto it, Jesus was also put to death and buried precisely because all our sins had been passed onto Him. 
It’s written in Leviticus 16:21: “Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man.” As this passage shows, every year on the Day of Atonement, Aaron laid his hands on the head of the scapegoat on behalf of the entire people of Israel according to the principle of representation, and when he took his hands off the scapegoat, all the yearly sins of the Israelites’ were passed onto the goat through his hands as their representative. The people of Israel were then remitted from all the sins they had committed over the year. 
Likewise, the will of God for mankind’s remission of sins was fulfilled through the baptism of Jesus. In the Old Testament, the scapegoat accepted the sins of the Israelites’ as the High Priest laid his hands on its head (Leviticus 16:21), while in the New Testament, Jesus accepted all the sins of the entire human race by being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. These two sacrificial rites were the same sin offering. 
When Jesus said to John the Baptist, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness,” He was saying that He would finally fulfill all righteousness by receiving baptism from John. Here, the word “thus” refers to the baptismal rite—that is, John the Baptist baptizing Jesus and Jesus receiving this baptism—and the phrase “all righteousness” in its original text means “most fitting” or “most appropriate.” In other words, when Jesus said here, “Thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness,” He was saying that it was fitting for Him to accept everyone’s sins by receiving the baptism given by John the Baptist. Put differently, our Lord was saying to John the Baptist, “Everyone must be cast into hell, for everyone is sinful. All are suffering because of sin. Everyone is being tormented by the Devil, and no one can be blessed because of sin. So for Me to bless and send everyone to Heaven, I must be baptized by you. You shall baptize Me on behalf of everyone else as the representative of mankind, for you are a descendant of Aaron. I shall receive this baptism from you and all righteousness shall be fulfilled.” So when Jesus commanded John the Baptist to baptize Him, he laid his hands on Jesus’ head in obedience. When John the Baptist took his hands off, all the sins of the world were passed onto Jesus Christ.
Did Jesus ever commit any sin by any chance? No, of course not! Because Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, He was born without any sin. Nor did the Lord ever commit any sin while in this world. Although every human being is born with sin, Jesus was born without any sin. And He never committed any sin while living on this earth, nor did He ever make any mistake. 
Why, then, did Jesus have to be crucified to death? It’s because He had taken all our sins upon Himself in the Jordan River as the very first thing that He did in His public life. Through John the Baptist, the last High Priest of the Old Testament and the representative of the entire human race, Jesus had accepted all the sins of everyone in this world. And for the next three years, Jesus preached His salvation all over the land of Israel. Even when He came across a woman caught in adultery, He said to her, “Neither do I condemn you. I cannot judge you either. I must be judged Myself. I must die on the Cross vicariously in your place.” 
Moreover, when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He was crucified, He asked God the Father no less than three times to pass the cup of crucifixion if possible, but because He knew that it was the Father’s will, He resigned Himself in obedience and said to the Father, “Not My will, but Yours, be done.” 
From then on until He was dragged to the court of Pilate, Jesus was tortured and whipped so much as a capital criminal that His whole body was torn apart and He was already half-dead. When Pilate the governor asked Him, “Are You the Christ? Are You the Savior, the Son of God?” Jesus said, “I am who you say I am. You have said it yourself.” Pilate then said, “If You behave well, I can release you. I have such authority,” but Jesus said to him, “You can have no authority by yourself unless it is given from Heaven,” and He remained silent as a sheep before its shearer. 
Why did Jesus stay so silent like a sheep before its shearer? It’s because He had borne all our sins, and therefore He now had to bear the punishment of crucifixion in our place, for only then could He end the warfare of the entire human race, make it no longer necessary for human beings to suffer because of sin, and set all of them free from their slavery of sin. And this is the gospel of the atonement of sins that Jesus has fulfilled through His baptism and His blood on the Cross.
 


The Lord Has Made Atonement for All the Sins of the World

 
As we saw, John 1:29 says, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” Clearly, John the Baptist had baptized Jesus for the atonement of the sins of mankind. The day after being baptized, when Jesus came toward him, John the Baptist testified, “Look at Him! He is the Lamb of God taking away all the sins of the world!” John the Baptist could personally bear witness of Jesus Christ as the Savior like this precisely because he himself had passed to Him all the sins of mankind by baptizing Him.
As John the Baptist testified here, Jesus was indeed the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. The Son of God had come to this earth and borne all the sins of the world. John the Baptist testified this once more, as it’s written in John 1:35-36, “Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’”
John the Baptist called Jesus the “Lamb of God” here as an expression to show that just as the sacrificial animals of the Old Testament were put to death on behalf of the people of Israel, so had Jesus become our own sacrificial Lamb to bear all our sins and be sacrificed in our place. Put differently, the Son of God, the Creator Himself who made us, came to this earth to save you and me, and to make atonement for all our sins in our place, He was baptized by John the Baptist and shed His blood on the Cross, thus remitting away all the sins of the world—yours and mine, each and every sin ever committed by anyone and everyone from the very foundation of the world to the end of this planet earth, original and personal alike, no matter how wicked. 
Around 2,000 years ago, Jesus had already blotted out all the sins of the world. History is divided into AD and BC based on the year when Jesus Christ came to this earth, with 1 AD denoting the year of the Lord’s coming and BC denoting before Christ. On 30 AD He took away all the sins of the world, and it’s now been over 2,000 years since the coming of Jesus Christ.
On 30 AD, Jesus Christ accepted all the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist for their atonement, and the next day, John the Baptist bore His witness and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” The day after this, when John the Baptist saw Jesus again, he once again bore witness and said, “Behold the Lamb of God [who takes away the sin of the world]!” John the Baptist testified the gospel of the atonement of sins, saying, “Jesus has taken away all your sins. Your warfare has ended. You are now sinless. No matter what kinds of sins you have ever committed, the Son of God has taken them all away.”
My fellow believers, God has remitted away all our sins by sending Jesus to this earth. John the Baptist bore witness of Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29) after passing all our sins to Him because he had come “for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe” (John 1:7). Without the testimony of John the Baptist, how could we ever know if Jesus took away all the sins of the world or just original sin? Although the Bible says that Jesus died for our sins, it’s John the Baptist who testified that Jesus Himself bore and took away all the sins of the world. John the Baptist was the bridge that linked the Old Testament with the New Testament, and he was God’s servant indispensable to Jesus’ fulfillment of all the Word of the Old Testament. I ask you to believe in this and be saved. 
John the Baptist testified the gospel of the atonement of sins, and those who believe that all the sins of mankind were passed onto Jesus through His baptism, and that He shed His blood on the Cross as a result, can now believe in Jesus unto salvation. Thanks to this testimony of John the Baptist, the entire human race can reach its salvation. 
I give all my thanks to God the Father for sending us John the Baptist and Jesus, and for letting Jesus bear all our sins and make atonement for them.